Monday, January 27, 2014

Tools of the Crafting Trade - Sewing edition

I always see the pretty sewing spaces in magazines and blogs and sigh.  I have taken over the dining room table and random parts of that room, but I someday I'll have an awesome dedicated craft room...probably after at least 2 children leave for college.  I've got a few years to go.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share my tools that I can't live without!

Someday I'll have a super awesome amazing sewing machine that brews a latte while it sews perfect seams, but for now I have a slightly above basic sewing machine.  (Latte sewing machine sounds like an untapped market, I should patent that!)

My workhorse.  (No that's not a wart, that's an adhesive leather thimble that I stuck there so I could find it).  It's a Brother Project Runway Edition, from my local Wally-World.  At some point it stopped threading the needles for me (BOOO!) and it hates to shirr, but those are the only 2 things I can complain about.  Oh and it has a small throat, so I have cursed my way through straight line quilting a twin sized quilt, but I'd never try anything bigger.  There have been a few times when it choked on going through several layers of fabric and interfacing (maybe 12?), but once I switched to a leather needle, it was all fun and games again.

My pink iron.  I love the fact that the cord retracts, because there's nothing worse than finishing up a long day of sewing and then having to wrap your cord on the iron.  (Oh wait, that would mean that I actually put it away every day.  Excuse me as I laugh and my husband rolls his eyes.)  I'm not going to show my ironing board because it's just sad.  I hope someday to either make a new cover that doesn't look like people wipe their feet on it or just buy a bigger one that can fit an entire yard of fabric across it.  That fusible webbing never comes off once it's on there...and it just keeps grabbing dirt from somewhere!  I did buy some 'ironing board clips' from Joann's that are doing a good job of keeping the cover on since it never fit quite right after I washed it.  They look like suspenders that got shrunk in the wash.

The best purchase I ever made was the quilting ruler, self-healing mat, and rotary cutter.  Even though the rotary cutter has tasted my blood more than once, I still love to use it.  I can't cut a straight line to save my life, unless I use these.  I have another larger cutter that is great for cutting through fleece and thick layers, but this little guy is even good for (carefully) cutting curves!

My rock for bashing stuff.  This is a piece of flagstone from when my husband redid our back patio.  It's actually HIS rock for bashing, and he is much better at riveting and fastening things with it.  Along with the rock, a hammer is required.  This is my scrapbooking hammer that I picked up at a store that sells tools for real work.  I remember it being about half the price of a 'pretty' hammer at a hobby store, but other than it wandering off occasionally, it's a great hammer.  The silver thing is a rivet setter, I've just started using it on the clutch/wallets and it's working pretty nice!

Jack the seam ripper deserves special mention because HE IS AWESOME. Ergonomic and so pretty!

(Look at all that storage!)
(Quick Access areas - usually this is where Jack lives, along with my tailor's chalk)

(I swear this was organized at one time!)
My Box of Holding.  It sits on the floor next to my sewing machine and also doubles as a chair for my youngest.  Or a step stool.  The top has quick access to all my sewing machine feet, seam rippers, chalk, and other things I need every time I sew.  I'm still seeing what all I can cram in it and still find stuff, so the insides change.


My pin cushion - actually this is an "over the couch arm" pin cushion, but it also works as an 'under the sewing machine' pin cushion. Or 'beside the sewing machine' pin cushion.  When it is beside the machine, it also ends up being a coaster for my water bottle.  Cups are dangerous, so I try to stick with things with a lid. 

(Blurry pic of the fabric.  I'd like to blame it on the rotation of the earth. Or maybe my camera deciding to focus on the carpet.  Seriously camera??)

I do try to organize my supplies, but when your sewing space is the dining room table (we manage just fine crowding 5 people around a tiny kitchen table, so why would we want to eat somewhere we'd have space and light pink carpet under our feet?) you don't really have a dedicated easily accessible storage area.  My fabric currently resides in two 3x3 cubicles from Target, with the fabric wrapped around the comic book backing boards.  I think I picked up 150 or 250 for under $10 at a local comic shop and I just ran out finally.  Time to use up some fabric.  Or buy more boards.  Can't decide which one would be better...  For fat quarters, I have 2 half fabric drawers that started out with the fat quarters neatly wrapped around the boards (cut them in half the long way so they fit in the drawer), but now seems to just have them randomly stacked and thrown in there.  I see a massive organization effort sometime soon...

I would love one of those pretty things you hang on the wall and can organize your thread by color/type/brand/mood, but for now I'm using a plastic container that I can snap closed and tote around.  It usually ends up jumbled and I have to dig for the right color since they don't quite fit in sideways like I originally hoped they would. 
I hope you enjoyed seeing my essentials for sewing, what is essential for your sewing? 

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